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European leaders moving closer to agreement on EU budget

European officials, gathered in Brussels to design a draft proposal of the long-term EU budget, finished the first day of negotiations in the small hours of the morning. The initial deal anticipates reducing the November budget proposal by 12 billion euros to 960 billion which will be allocated to agriculture subsidies, aid and scientific research over a seven year plan (2014-2020).

The final agreement hasn’t been reached yet but EU officials hope it will happen on Friday, as the framework for the budget has already been established. The budget will balance the needs of the eastern and southern countries, which push for more spending on farming and regional development with those of the northern countries which would like to see more cuts.

The reductions, agreed upon on Friday morning, will affect cross-border transportation, energy and telecommunications networks as well as the EU officials’ salaries. On the other hand, spending on rural development has been increased by 1.5 billion euros.

The EU budget needs to be approved by all the Member States and then by the European Parliament.

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